How to Deal and Let Go of Embarrassing Intrusive Memories

How to Deal and Let Go of Embarrassing Intrusive Memories

It's normal to feel embarrassed or ashamed after an intrusive memory pops into your head.

But it's important not to let those feelings keep you trapped in the past.

Such thoughts can be disruptive to your day, and may even cause you to avoid situations or people that remind you of the memory.

Here are a few ideas to help you deal with and let go of embarrassing memories. 

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Acknowledge the Memory

Sometimes these memories are unpleasant, but they don't have to be avoided. Acknowledge the memory and accept that it's part of your past.

The first step is to acknowledge the memory itself, without censoring your thoughts or feelings.

By simply acknowledging what you are experiencing, rather than trying to push it away or ignore it, you can gain some distance from the painful memory and start to take control of your reaction to it.

From there, you can try various forms of self-care or seek professional support to find healing and closure.

With time and effort, you can learn how to let go of these memories and move forward with confidence.

Acknowledging a bad memory is a good step to consider when learning how to deal with and let go of embarrassing intrusive memories. 

Understand Why you Feel Embarrassed

Think about what may have triggered your feelings of embarrassment, whether it was something someone said or did or simply a thought or feeling. Intrusive memories are memories that tend to pop up at inopportune times and can be quite embarrassing.

If you've ever had a memory of something embarrassing that you did years ago suddenly resurface, you know how difficult it can be to deal with these intrusive thoughts. So, why do we feel embarrassed by these memories?

Embarrassment is often rooted in a fear of judgment. We may be afraid that others will think less of us if they know about our past mistakes or embarrassing moments.

This can lead us to try to suppress these memories, which can backfire. Trying not to think about something can make it more likely that the memory will intrude.

Instead of trying to forget about an embarrassing memory, it may be more helpful to accept it and even laugh at it. Talk about it with a trusted friend or family member who can help you see the humor in the situation.

Remember that everyone has embarrassing moments and that we all make mistakes. Accepting this can help you let go of the embarrassment and move on.

Ask Yourself if the Memory is Valid or Not

Sometimes, these memories can be distorted by our emotions. Check to see if there's any truth or reality to your thoughts, and consider how you might have perceived a situation differently at the time.

One key way to do this is by asking yourself whether the memory is grounded in fact or simply an emotional response that may not reflect reality.

For instance, if you find yourself experiencing these memories frequently around certain triggers or during certain times of day, it may indicate that they are not accurate representations of what happened but rather reactions based on emotion and stress.

By recognizing these factors and methodically examining your thoughts and feelings around these memories, you can better understand why they continue to haunt you and work towards learning how to let go of them for good.

Label the Emotions you Feel

When you are struggling with intrusive memories of past experiences that are causing feelings of embarrassment, guilt, or discomfort, it can be hard to know how to deal with these memories.

At first, it may seem like your only option is to try to push the memories out of your mind altogether.

However, this approach will likely only lead to more struggle and discomfort. Instead, a better strategy is to work on learning how to label and accept your emotions.

By taking time to identify what you are feeling in the moment, you can begin to recognize your triggers and start working towards healing old wounds.

With practice and patience, you will gain a new perspective on these memories and learn how to let go of the emotions they bring up to live a healthier and happier life.

Consider Talking About the Memory with a Trusted Friend or Therapist

It's happened to all of us before - we have an embarrassing or intrusive memory.

One approach is to talk about the memory with a trusted friend or therapist.

This can help to process the emotions associated with the memory, and may also help to put the event into perspective. It's also important to be mindful of your thoughts and reactions when the memory arises.

If you can catch yourself ruminating on the memory, try to redirect your thoughts to something else.

Practice Self-Compassion

This is a big one. Beating yourself up about an embarrassing or negative memory will only make it worse.

Instead, extend some compassion to yourself. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend in the same situation.

Forgive yourself for any mistakes you may have made and focus on moving forward.

Give yourself permission to make mistakes - we all do it!

With time and practice, you will gain a new perspective on these memories and learn how to let go of the feelings they bring up. Ultimately, this can help you let go of the past and move forward toward living a healthier and happier life.

Self-compassion is a great step to consider when learning how to deal with and let go of intrusive embarrassing memories. 


This information in this article is for informational purposes only. It should be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you are struggling with your mental health and embarrassing thought, please consider seeking professional medical advice from a licensed health professional.


Whatever your approach may be, it's important to remember that everyone has experienced embarrassing or intrusive memories at some point in their lives.

Learning how to deal with and let go of embarrassing intrusive memories is an important step when maturing and getting to a good mental health space.

You are not alone in this, and there is no shame in seeking help to deal with these memories. With time and patience, you can learn how to let go of the past and move forward toward a brighter future.

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